Duolingo English Test Cue Cards Questions Preparation Tips

This article will provide you with all the information you’ll need to prepare for the Duolingo English Test cue card questions. We also include sample questions and answers to help you understand this test section in detail.

A Brief Overview of the Duolingo English Test Speaking Questions

The Duolingo English Test is a cutting-edge language assessment tool for today’s worldwide students and institutions. Unlike other tests, the Duolingo English Test has just one graded portion to encounter graded speaking questions. These are also known as extended speaking tasks that assess your ability to communicate in English. 

You will react to four speaking prompts towards the conclusion of the computer adaptive test (CAT) part of the test: 

  • One image description task.
  • Three autonomous speaking tasks (two with a written prompt and one with an auditory cue). 

The system calibrates the test for high, moderate, and low competence levels in each task category.

Their assessed aptitude determines the degree of difficulty of the tasks given to you on the computer adaptive test (CAT)  part of the exam. These task types need you to speak for an extended amount of time and use various aspects of their organizational knowledge (e.g., grammar, vocabulary, text structure) and functional elements of their pragmatic language knowledge.

Automated scoring models built by Duolingo’s specialists rate the speaking tasks. Each of the three speaking task types has its scoring system. The scoring methods for speaking evaluate your grammar accuracy and fluency, as well as your word choices. It also assesses how well you respond to the questions in a given time.

Additional Helpful Reading:

How Do Cue Card Questions Appear in the Duolingo English Exam?

The cue card questions are part of the speaking section of the Duolingo English Test. It is composed of the following:

  • 3 Cue Card Questions
  • 2 with written prompts, one with aural or spoken prompt
  • You can use 30 seconds to prepare and decide on how to answer and then speak for 90 seconds or 1 ½ minute

Read, Then Speak (Written Prompt)

You must speak about a subject in this segment, which appears just once in the Duolingo speaking portion of the main exam. 

Duolingo English Test Exam Pattern Adaptive Questions Read Then Speak

You get 20 seconds to prepare for looking at the question in this section, which is comparable to IELTS Cue Cards, and then you have at least 30 seconds and up to 90 seconds to answer the question. 

You can also look at the question while answering the task.

Listen, Then Speak (Aural Prompt)

The practice exam does not include this section, and you must not only comprehend but also provide the correct response. It will assess your listening and speaking skills. 

Duolingo English Test Exam Pattern Adaptive Questions Listen then Speak

This will ask you questions following the 50-word section. Come prepared. It is best to speak for at least 30 seconds and up to one and a half minutes. 

What Is Evaluated In The Duolingo Speaking Cue Card Tasks?

Open response questions, such as the cue card tasks, will be assessed using a grading system. Like experienced human raters, the grading engine is to comprehend and evaluate a candidate’s English Proficiency.

The DET system will evaluate the accuracy of your grammar, word choices, fluency,  how well you respond to the question, and how much you can say or write the pronunciation and pace in a limited amount of time.

However, you should be aware that computer algorithms will analyze and score the questions, while human proctors will assess your video recordings.

5 Helpful Tips to Ace the Cue Card Questions

1. Grammar

Most importantly, remember to read the question carefully. While you’ll be changing your language throughout the speech, knowing where to begin is essential.

Many questions may ask about events that have already occurred or that have occurred in the past. Some questions may ask about a favorite location or item, while others may inquire about the future. You never know what kind of question you’ll take, so prepare well.

Examples may include:

  • Describe a place you have recently visited. (Past Tenses)
  • Describe an interesting skill you have. (Present)
  • Describe a dish you would like to learn about. (Future / Speculation Tenses)

2. Vocabulary 

As discussed in our DET guide, you should choose the language relevant to the question and the subject. Many students confuse having a diverse vocabulary with using the largest words to demonstrate their mastery of the material. But it’s appropriateness that’s important here.

Also, make sure you have a list of synonyms prepared. It will help if you vary your word choices. Again, this does not imply the use of big words. Check to see whether they’re acceptable. 

If you can utilize idioms naturally and have been doing so in your regular speaking practice, then go ahead and try using them in your speech. 

3. Storytelling

There are many ways to answer this section, but telling a tale is the greatest approach to answering questions.

You’ve lived it. You already know. You remember who was there, how it felt, looked, and how it affected you. It should help you prepare. It should also relieve some of the strain while deciding what to say. When we tell a tale, we usually have much to say. It will also sound more natural, which is vital for the speaking exam.

For example, if the cue card asks you to describe a unique item, you may start by defining it and then tell the narrative of how it came into your life. Keep going on with the narrative, and the lengthy turn will be over soon.

4. Don’t Ignore the Prompts

It is common for students to receive their questions, and instead of telling a good story, they try to answer each prompt one by one. The problem, however, is that, after they have responded to all the prompts, they still have a few seconds to speak and nothing more to say. Don’t let this happen to you!

Previously, we discussed telling a narrative. We strongly advise you to utilize the prompts as a safety net and a reference for what to say. That is, only use the suggestions when your narrative is at a standstill. If you finish early, you now have several extra options to complete the lengthy turn.

5. Talk In-depth

If you’re telling a tale, you should be able to talk for at least 30 seconds and a maximum of 90 seconds. Practice speaking for at least a total of 1 minute at home so that the allotted time on the exam will seem like a breeze.

6. Stick To The Topic

This may seem self-evident, but it’s always good to be alert. You may begin with a great response to the subject and wind up someplace totally else. Keep in mind that the suggestions act as a guide. However, as long as you stay within the broad scope of the subject, particularly while telling a narrative, you should be OK.

What are the Types of Topics for Cue Card Questions that will Appear in the Duolingo English Test?

We have listed below eight categories of topics of cue card questions. These are some subjects with answers that appeared in actual exams.

We’ve done this, so you may go through the collection and choose a spoken cue card that interests you.

Favorites:

These are topics that ask you to talk about things you like.

  • Describe your favorite picture or photography you like
  • A song that has special meaning to you
  • Describe a special or favorite toy you liked in your childhood

Time-based:

These are topics that ask you to talk about events that occurred in the past, present, and future

  • A subject at school
  • Things you want to buy in the future
  • A stage in your life you enjoyed most

Person:

These are topics about a friend or a guide.

  • Describe someone you believe is a good leader
  • Describe one of your family members you spend the most time with
  • Describe someone in the news you like to meet

Object:

These are topics about things like a mirror, gadget, or clothes that you like.

  • Describe a picture on your work table
  • A gift you gave that took a long time to select
  • Describe a piece of electronic gadget that you find useful

Occasions:

These are topics about an important moment in your life.

  • An event when you got up very early in the morning
  • Describe a birthday party celebration that you attended
  • A memorable event from your school days

Place:

These are topics about places that you visited or are going to see.

  • Describe a polluted place
  • A place near water you visited
  • Describe a place where you often go to relax

Work/Study:

The topics are about your workplace or study that you want to pursue.

  • Describe a project you did quickly
  • Describe your Dream/ideal/Perfect Job
  • Describe a culture that you want to learn more

Emotions:

These are topics that ask you to talk about emotions like sadness, happiness, etc.

  • Describe the best and thrilling experience in your life
  • Describe an exciting activity you did
  • Describe an advertisement that you found very persuasive

Summary Table — Types of Topics for DET Cue Card Questions

Topic TypeAbout the Topic TypeSample Questions
FavoritesThese are topics that ask you to talk about things you like.
  • Describe your favorite picture or photography you like.
  • A song that has special meaning to you.
  • Describe a special or favorite toy you liked in your childhood.
Time-basedThese are topics that ask you to talk about events in the past, present, and future.
  • A subject at school.
  • Things you want to buy in the future.
  • A stage in your life you enjoyed most
PersonThese are topics about a friend or a guide.
  • Describe someone you believe is a good leader.
  • Describe one of your family members you spend the most time with.
  • Describe someone in the news you like to meet.
ObjectThese are topics about things like a mirror, gadget, or clothes that you like.
  • Describe a picture on your work table.
  • A gift you gave that took a long time to select.
  • Describe a piece of electronic gadget that you find useful.
OccasionsThese are topics about an important moment in your life.
  • An event when you got up very early in the morning.
  • Describe a birthday party celebration that you attended.
  • A memorable event from your school days.
PlaceThese are topics about places that you visited or are going to see.
  • Describe a polluted place.
  • A place near water you visited.
  • Describe a place where you often go to relax.
Work/StudyThe topics are about your workplace or study that you want to pursue.
  • Describe a project you did quickly.
  • Describe your Dream/ideal/Perfect Job.
  • Describe a culture that you want to learn more about.
EmotionsThese are topics that ask you to talk about emotions like sadness, happiness, etc.
  • Describe the best and thrilling experience in your life.
  • Describe an exciting activity you did.
  • Describe an advertisement that you found very persuasive.

Sample Cue Cards Questions and Answers

Speaking Cue Card Question #1

Duolingo English Test Cue Cards Listen Sample Questions 1
Sample Response:

I recall having to cancel a visit to a friend's home due to unpleasant weather. On a Saturday, I was at home and planned to visit one of my high school pals who lives an hour away. Unfortunately, I think it was not a well-planned visit, as I saw the sky was gloomy with clouds as soon as I began getting ready. It seemed that there might be some scattered showers, but thick clouds quickly formed.There was a severe hailstorm that was accompanied by high winds. 

You won't believe how dejected I felt when I saw the rain continue to pour nonstop. Also, I felt compelled to monitor the weather report on that particular day before planning an excursion closely. Anyway, I kept waiting for the rain to cease, but it didn't until much later in the day. 

Finally, I had to reschedule my visit to my buddy since there was no way I could start after half the day had passed. As a result, I told my buddy about the change of plans. She was disappointed as well, but she understood why I couldn't make it. That was how the day ended, and I told myself that I would always check the weather forecast before making any future plans.

Speaking Cue Card Question #2

Duolingo English Test Cue Cards Listen Sample Questions 2
Sample Answer:

To be really honest, I have had a lot of chances throughout my whole life to use a number of technology devices. But, now, I'd want to speak about a really unique device, which is nothing more than a mobile phone, which was given to me by my father at one of my birthday celebrations and which I've used extensively.

Actually, there are a growing number of reasons why I use this specific device, and the list is growing. Beginning with the very first sentence of my speech, I'd want to emphasize that with the assistance of this specific technology, I'll be able to maintain simple communication with both family members and friends alike. Also, since this specific gadget has a broad range of entertainment sources, I can view and listen to various songs with interesting songs. 

Last but not least, it provides me with the ability to access the internet, which is very beneficial in carrying out my daily tasks.

Speaking Cue Card Question #3

Duolingo English Test Cue Cards Listen Sample Questions 3
Sample Response:

It happened not long ago while I was assisting one of my coworkers. Anna, one of my coworkers, arrived late for work on a chilly January day. She said that she had been walking from home since she couldn't locate public transportation. It was probably not smart for her to walk from home since it was a bad day for walking with all the cold and snow. She was knocked out and collapsed on the floor a few minutes later.

I quickly provided assistance since I was trained in First Aid and CPR. I wrapped a warm blanket over her and turned her on one side as soon as I could. Second, I requested an ambulance. I also took her pulse and examined her respiration. Her blood pressure was also very low. I massaged her hands lightly at the same time. She finally opened her eyes after a time. One of our coworkers gave her a cup of steaming coffee. She improved with time. The ambulance finally came. The paramedics assessed her condition. She was well now, although she was a little weak. A day off was granted to her. I drove her home in my vehicle at that moment. I'll add that there was one instance in which I was able to put my First Aid training to good use.

Speaking Cue Card Question #4

Duolingo English Test Cue Cards Listen Sample Questions 4
Sample Answer: 

To be honest, I've had many chances during my life to attend a large number of birthday parties. Today, though, I'd like to discuss a really unique and unforgettable birthday celebration that took place in a well-known community center in my city. 

There are a growing number of reasons why I enjoyed this gathering. At the beginning of my talking, I'd like to state that I was very fortunate that day since I got the chance to see all of my family. Another essential aspect is that we prepared a broad selection of delectable meals that were really delectable. 

Another thing valuable to note is that we also adorned the area with a range of bright lights and natural flowers, which drew the attention of everyone. Finally, since we seemed to have a good sense of humor, we organized a dance and singing celebration in which we all took part.

Speaking Cue Card Question#5

Duolingo English Test Cue Cards Listen Sample Questions 5
Sample Answer:

Fortunately, I have a large number of chances to visit a variety of restaurants that are all quite typical. But now I'd like to speak about a really unique restaurant that I go to twice a week with my pals since it's just next door to my home. The name of the restaurant is KFC, and it is one of the most popular in my city. 

In reality, there are a growing number of reasons why I like to travel. To begin my speech, I'd like to point out that the restaurant's interior design seems to be vibrant, as it has been adorned with a range of eye-catching classical films as well as different kinds of bright lighting. Another essential aspect is that they provide a wide variety of flavorful meals that are really delectable. 

Another thing worth noting is that every time I visit this restaurant, I usually encounter some excellent employees who are always kind and go out of their way to offer the meal. Last but not least, in comparison to other restaurants, their meal costs are very cheap.

Speaking Cue Card Question# 6

Duolingo English Test Cue Cards Listen Sample Questions 6
Sample Answer:

In reality, during my life, I have had many chances to travel to a variety of locations. Some of them were from my nation, while others were from other countries. But now I'd like to speak about a really unique location that is regarded as one of my country's most popular vacation spots. Cox's bazaar is the name of the location, which is situated in the southern portion of my nation.

Honestly, I have a difficult time finding free time to go anyplace. However, a few weeks ago, I was able to set aside a significant amount of time to visit this location with my family.

In fact, there are a growing number of reasons why I like this location so much. At the beginning of my lecture, I'd like to state that it is the world's longest sea beach. When I stand on the shore of this specific sea, for example, I can barely locate the sea's final point since it has no end. Another crucial aspect is that I came across a beautiful environment where I sat for a bit to unwind. Another thing worth noting is that when I was famished, I ate a variety of delectable seafood dishes that were also delectable. Last but not least, I met several incredible people who were very helpful.

Practice Questions for the Cue Cards Section of the DET

We’ve included some sample Duolingo English Test speaking cue cards for you to practice with. You may rehearse it, and your examiner is likely to ask about any of the cue cards. 

So practice these cue cards; we’re not saying you should memorize your answers, but it will help you if you’ve previously done the same thing before the actual exam. So, have a look at it and get ready.

Read,Then Speak (Written Prompt)

  • Describe a time when an essential trip was delayed.
    • What was the significance of it? 
    • What caused the delay?
    • What transpired in the end?
    • Explain why the delay occurred.
  • Describe a time when you were a part of a team.
    • Could you tell me what it was?
    • Who were the team’s members?
    • How did you fit into this group?
    • Could you also describe how you accomplished your objective?
  • Describe a person who has expressed regret to you.
    • Who is this individual?
    • Can you tell me when this happened?
    • Can you tell me what this individual said while apologizing?
    • How did you react to the apology?
  • Describe a fascinating animal.
    • What seems to be?
    • What were your thoughts?
    • Where did you see it?
    • Explain why it’s fascinating.
  • Describe an article you read a somewhere
    • What is the topic of the article?
    • What did you take away from the article?
    • Explain why you believe the article is excellent or poor.
  • Describe someone you’d want to meet from the news.
    • Who is he or she?
    • Why did this guy appear on television?
    • How did you figure out who this guy is?
    • What is it that you wish to meet him for?
  • Describe an instance when the weather forced you to alter your plans.
    • When did this occur?
    • Where did you go?
    • What was the weather like?
    • What did you do in the end?
  • Talk about a time when you were not permitted to use your phone.
    • Where did it go?
    • What year was it?
    • Why weren’t you allowed?
    • How did you intend to use your cellphone?
  • Describe a time when you got vital information through text message.
    • To whom did you share the message?
    • What was the topic of the news?
    • How did it come to be written?
    • Why was the news significant?
  • Describe anything you purchased that was first difficult to utilize.
    • What exactly is it?
    • When did you buy it?
    • What exactly does it do?
  • Describe a successful small company you are familiar with.
    • What is the nature of your business?
    • Can you tell me where it is?
    • Who owns the company and how did you learn about it?
    • And why do you believe it is successful?
  • Describe an individual who has imparted valuable knowledge to you
    • Who is this person?
    • What is he or she like?
    • What did he or she teach you?
    • How did you feel about him?
  • Describe a tough task you overcame or overcame.
    • What was the difficulty?
    • When did you finish/meet it, and where did you do so?
    • What was so tough about it?
    •  What were your thoughts about it?
  • Describe a busy location you’ve visited.
    • Can you tell me where it is?
    • When did you go there?
    • Who were you with when you got there?
    • Could you also describe how you felt about being there?

Listen, Then Speak (Aural Prompt)

Click the link and speak the answer to the question you hear. These are actual aural prompts from Duolingo English Test. Since they are open-ended questions, there is no such thing as a “right” answer.

Prompt # 1

Prompt # 2

Prompt # 3

Prompt # 4


Prompt # 5

FAQs on the DET Cue Cards for Preparation

Why Should I Take the Practice Tests for the Duolingo English Test?

The sample exam will give you an overview of the kinds of questions you’ll encounter on the Duolingo English Test. Remember that the sample test is shorter (just eight minutes) than the actual Duolingo exam, and the score range is unofficial and less accurate. It would help if you attempted the practice exams to know how to respond to questions on the actual test and perform well.

What Parts Do Cue Cards Play In The Duolingo English Test?

The primary goal of the cue cards is to answer the subject and talk about it for 30-90 seconds. You will have 20 seconds to make any relevant mental notes to the subject. 
Some individuals are unable to create any thoughts or any points relating to the subject. It is very tough to talk for 90 seconds in this situation. Even if we attempt to speak for 90 minutes, it will be impossible due to the limited amount of ideas. To prevent these issues, it’s usually best to follow the cue card’s suggestions and constantly talk, expanding on the responses with supporting comments.

What Happens If You Will Not Use All Of The Items Listed On The Cue Card?

There is a common notion among candidates that you will get a low score if you do not utilize all of the cue card items. This isn’t always the case, however.
It’s perfectly acceptable if it can talk using two or three suggestions in a detailed way, including all essential information. Finally, the cue card portion is a necessary element of the Duolingo English Test. Learn the correct technique for generating ideas and how to expand the conversation by elaborating on the points.

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